May 1, 2019

Minnesota Center for Book Arts Presents “Playing With Words”

Courtesy of Minnesota Center for Book Arts

Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) presents Playing With Words, an exhibition in collaboration with the Loft Literary Center’s first annual Wordplay, Minnesota’s largest celebration of readers, writers, and great books. MCBA has commissioned 14 letterpress printers from around the country to create an edition of broadsides featuring selections of text by writers Jericho Brown, Anders Carlson-Wee, Tina Chang, Franny Choi, Mark Conway, Ross Gay, Dobby Gibson, Mary Karr, Ed Bok Lee, Gregory Pardlo, Morgan Parker, and Natasha Trethewey.

A large sheet of paper printed on one side only, broadsides are a popular and historically important form of street literature, a work of art designed to be read in public spaces, encouraging a communal reading experience. Plastered onto walls or sold in town squares, broadsides were used to inform the public about current news, publicize protests and events, issue proclamations in the form of ballads, and share poetry with a wide audience. Broadsides were the social media of their day, offering vivid insights into the daily activities and attitudes of individuals and communities. Today, broadside printing is often a fine art variant of poems, illustrations, and designs. Broadside printers for Playing With Words include Kent Aldrich, Tia Blassingame, H. R. Buechler, Mary Clare Butler, Angela Davis Fegan, Chris Fritton, Amos Paul Kennedy Jr., Amy Leners, Rachel Melis, Kelly Taylor Mitchell, Scott Murphy, Austin Nash, Radha Pandey, and CB Sherlock.

Please join MCBA for a public reception and free community broadside printing event in collaboration with Minneapolis-based Proof Public on May 11th, 2019 from 12-3 pm in MCBA’s studios. Prints by Proof Public will also be on view in MCBA’s Outlook Gallery on Washington Avenue.

Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) is a visual arts nonprofit organization that supports creative expression through traditional and contemporary book arts, including papermaking, bookbinding, and letterpress printing. MCBA’s philosophy and artistic vision challenges its artist community to think beyond the traditional notion of “book.” Today, books can be bound and unbound, fabricated into sculptures, interpreted as metaphor, experienced as installation or performance, and interacted with virtually. What unites this varied work is a focus on the interdisciplinary expression of narrative. To learn more, visit our website at